MPs call for more openness during traffic orders debate

A consultation over councils advertising traffic orders in the local media has led MPs to call on local authorities to spend more money on improving transparency, rather than investing in websites or 'newer and better local authority propaganda'.

Consultation: on traffic orders advertising
Consultation: on traffic orders advertising

During the consultation, Stevenage Conservative MP Stephen McPartland told a debate in Westminster Hall on local media that ‘we are not in the business of subsidising local newspapers’. 

He added: ‘We should not be in the business of encouraging local authorities to compete against newspapers by taking that advertising revenue away from those newspapers and putting things on their own websites, because as hon. members know, very little of those savings will go to frontline services.

‘Local authorities will probably spend the money on developing a newer and better local authority website or newer and better local authority propaganda. The local community does not want that. It wants access to transparent information.’

The comments come as the Department for Communities and Local Government confirmed that it had no plans to remove the requirement for planning applications to be advertised in local newspapers.

Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey said the Department for Transport had already received 100 letters from MPs during the consultation process. He said: ‘Local newspapers play a vital role in supporting local democracy.’

The consultation on traffic orders advertising continues until 23 April.

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